UFC 129 Postmortem

Posted: May 1, 2011 in Fandom, Journalism, MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Because I was dumb enough to make my picks public, this postmortem will be more about the fights themselves than the interesting storylines that arose. Let’s take things fight by fight, comparing my picks to Jason Probst’s picks from Sherdog and to the actual results.

Before we begin, I have to say again that Randy Couture is the greatest thing to happen to MMA … ever.


The Fights

The Prelims

Pablo Garza vs. Yves Jabouin (prelim)

My Pick: No pick, but the claim, “Garza will not win by a flying kick, flying elbow, or flying anything.”
Jason’s Pick: Jabouin by second-round knockout.
Result: Pablo Garza by submission (flying triangle choke), earning the “submission of the night” bonus.
Score: Rob 0-0, Probst 0-1
Comment: WTF? I’m an idiot. I didn’t even pick but still managed to get it wrong. Even though Jason got it flat wrong, I’m going to say he gets one tie-breaker point for not being the one to look like a dope.
Analysis: Garza got his ass handed to him. He legitimately won the fight, but just a little better submission defense would have resulted in loss for Garza. Enjoy your win, Pablo, but don’t get too arrogant. And for heaven’s sake, please come to Florida!

Kyle Watson vs. John Makdessi

My Pick: None because I didn’t know either fighter.
Jason’s Pick: Watson by decision or late submission.
Result: Makdessi by highlight-reel knockout (spinning backfist) in the third round.
Score: Rob 0-0, Probst 0-2
Comment: I freaking know who Makdessi is now!
Analysis: Makdessi is an Eastern-style striker. He threw a bunch of sidekicks, frontkicks, and ended it with a stellar spinning backfist. He should have received “knockout of the night.” Like Machida, he’ll enjoy much success because he matches up well stylistically against the average UFC fighter. I’m going to keep my eye out for this guy.

Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen

My Pick: Jensen by 1st round submission.
Jason’s Pick: Jensen by close decision.
Result: MacDonald by 1st round decision (guillotine choke).
Score: Rob 0-1, Probst 0-3
Comment: A phoenix rising from the ashes.
Analysis: MacDonald used solid jiu-jitsu to win this fight. I give him credit but remain skeptical of his future with the UFC. Maybe he’s learned some things since his last run. We’ll see.

Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia

My Pick: No pick.
Jason’s Pick: Valencia by decision.
Result: Menjivar by 1st round TKO.
Score: Rob 0-1, Probst 0-4
Comment: Elbows break noses.
Analysis: As I said in my pick, both are scrappers. Menjivar got in the first solid shot, apparently breaking Valencia’s nose, rendering the few remaining seconds of the fight academic.

Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts

My Pick: No pick.
Jason’s Pick: Roberts by late stoppage or a one-sided decision.
Result: Patrick by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Score: Rob 0-1, Probst 0-5
Comment: No one stands out.
Analysis: I didn’t see this fight because I was on my way to Bailey’s while it was airing via Facebook. I could watch it via the Internet, but if Sherdog found this the only fight not necessary to include in their prelim recap, I’m not in a hurry to watch it. I will, just not today.

Sean Pierson vs. Jake Ellenberger

My Pick: Ellenberger by 3rd round KO.
Jason’s Pick: Ellenberger by 3rd round KO.
Result: Ellenberger by 1st round KO.
Score: Rob 1-1, Probst 1-5
Comment: I’m not surprised, and I doubt Jason is either. I was being nice to Pierson in my pick.
Analysis: Ellenberger, who broke his hand earlier in the round, clocked Pierson. He’s strong, fast, and accurate, and he showed a heart fighting injured. (He’s not the only one.)

Rory MacDonald vs. Nate Diaz

My Pick: MacDonald by split decision.
Jason’s Pick: MacDonald by hard earned decision.
Result: MacDonald by one-sided decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26).
Score: Rob 1-2, Probst 1-6
Comment: Once again, Diaz’s trash-talking has him eating crow. Stick to fighting, Nate.
Analysis: I was right to a large extent. Although the decision was much more one-sided than I expected — I’m surprised not one judge gave Diaz the first round — it started off exactly as I picked: The (ignorant) crowd was booing. Each fighter respected the other too much to take a risk, resulting in a 5-minute feeling out period. The most excitement came via the series of body slams MacDonald delivered to Diaz, and that’s also the reason the scores were one-sided. I get a tie-breaker point for this one, making Jason and me even.


Main Card

Benson Henderson vs. Mark Bocek

My Pick: Bocek by 1st round submission.
Jason’s Pick: Henderson by 3rd round submission.
Result: Henderson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Score: Rob 1-3, Probst 2-6
Comment: Why was Henderson in the WEC?
Analysis: I don’t normally checkout other guys’ legs, but it’s hard to ignore Henderson’s thighs. I wouldn’t want to be kicked by the guy. It clearly made it tough to take him down, and that kept Bocek out of his game. Still, Bocek could have pulled off a victory considering 1) he easily could have been awarded round 1 based on his aggression and takedowns; and 2) he could have been awarded round 2 because judges have been making horrible calls lately. I didn’t like the sweep for Henderson, but giving Bocek the decision would have been a much more serious crime. Considering Henderson didn’t make even a single legitimate attempt at a submission, I don’t feel bad about not giving Jason a tie-breaker point. We’re still even.

Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz

My Pick: Matyushenko by 3rd round TKO.
Jason’s Pick: Brilz by one-sided decision.
Result: Matyushenko by 1st round TKO.
Score: Rob 2-3, Probst 2-7
Comment: This tweet says it all.
Analysis: The only real controversy of the night was this knockout. Brilz was, of course, complaining about the stop, but I didn’t even need to see the replay. I saw Jason’s arms drop to his side as the knockout unfolded. He clearly wasn’t defending himself. I really want to give myself a tie-breaker point, but I just wasn’t close enough to justify that. We’re still even.

Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida

My Pick: Machida by 2nd round KO.
Jason’s Pick: Machida by decision.
Result: Machida by 2nd round KO.
Score: Rob 3-3, Probst 3-7
Comment: Suck it, Probst! Clearly, I redeemed myself from my Garza non-pick with this exceptionally precise pick. The tie-breaker is now to me. In fact, while we’re at it, suck it the rest of the world except for Thiago Tavares, who agreed with my pick.
Analysis: It was exactly as I said: an Eastern-style striker used traditional technique to stifle and knockout a grappler. Because of the precision of my pick, I’m giving myself a tie-breaker point, so I’m up by one. Still, I can’t gloat too much on this, as it represents a bad end to the greatest era in MMA’s short history. Machida clearly agreed, as he was very emotional after a fight he considered a great honor. This is yet another reason I’m such a huge fan of Lyoto.

Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick

My Pick: Aldo by 2nd round KO.
Jason’s Pick: Aldo by 2nd round TKO/KO.
Result: Aldo by unanimous decision.
Score: Rob 4-3, Probst 4-7
Comment: Quato’s alive!
Analysis: Jose Aldo fought a strange fight. As I said on Twitter while watching it, he brought in a brilliant game plan for a decision but had no chance of finishing the fight that way. I don’t fault him for that, but he got caught late in the 5th round and seemed to run out of gas (though I suspect he was just riding out the decision at that point). Because of that (perceived) danger to Aldo, it made the fight that much more exciting. A clean win for Aldo, and some of the best head movement I’ve seen in MMA in a while. Aldo slipped almost every punch Hominick threw. In addition, we learned tonight what happened to Quato from Total Recall.



Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields

My Pick: St. Pierre by incredibly obvious decision.
Jason’s Pick: St. Pierre by unanimous decision.
Result: St. Pierre by unanimous, but close, decision.
Score: Rob 5-3, Probst 5-7
Comment: This is why making picks is stupid.
Analysis: Despite the fact that Jason and I picked this correctly, we almost deserve a loss on our records. The fact is that, barring the injury to St. Pierre’s left eye, he was clearly headed towards knocking out Shields. (If you don’t believe me how bad it was, consider that when Jake Shields tried to fire up the crowd, they booed him.) On the other hand, I’m going to say that that I was right in this sense: As I said, it’s stupid to pick fights. Based on the close score on two of the scorecards, or based on the fact that St. Pierre was reckless enough to say, with cameras on him, he had no vision in his left eye, St. Pierre could have lost this fight by decision or doctor’s stoppage. I seriously doubt anyone on the planet picked Shields by doctor’s stoppage. This is something you can’t predict. It’s a fluke like Randy Couture’s torn eyelid against Vitor Belfort (it always comes back to Randy, doesn’t it?). If you don’t have all of the data, you can’t expect your picks to be reliable, and there are too many unknown variables to honestly say you have all the data. On the other hand, give St. Pierre credit for having the heart to fight for three, 5-minute rounds with no useful vision in his left eye. He even fought with his left side forward. This is utterly unbelievable, and I have now been convinced that Anderson Silva v. George St. Pierre must happen. With Nate Marquart moving to welterweight, it’s looking more and more likely that GSP will be in Silva’s weight class going forward. Still, it’s not a done deal. Personally, I’d like to see if GSP could keep Chael Sonnen standing.

The Prognosticator Scorecard

If you count the prelims, the final tally is Rob 5-3 (a winning record!) and Jason 5-7, but who really counts prelims? Looking only at the main card, we’re both 4-1, but I get the tie-breaker for a perfect pick on Machida-Couture. If Jason has any complaints, I’m happy to bring the prelims back in to quiet his rage. Let that be a lesson to him: either don’t take wild ass guesses regarding fighters he doesn’t really know, or learn about the fighters he doesn’t really know so he can make knowledgeable picks. I prefer the latter, of course, because, after all, it’s his job; he’s paid to know this stuff.

Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal is not a world-class trainer. We all know that. Why doesn’t he?


Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow the UFC on Twitter @UFC
Follow Sherdog on Twitter @Sherdog
Follow Ryan Jensen on Twitter @RyanJensenUFC
Follow Jake Ellenberger on Twitter @EllenbergerMMA
Follow Nate Diaz on Twitter @NateDiaz209
Follow Mark Bocek on Twitter @MarkBocek
Follow Vladimir Matyushenko on Twitter @vladthejanitor
Follow Jason Brilz on Twitter @JasonBrilz
Follow Randy Couture on Twitter @Randy_Couture
Follow Lyoto Machida on Twitter @lyotomachidafw
Follow Thiago Tavares on Twitter @TavaresMMA
Follow George St. Pierre on Twitter @GeorgesStPierre
Follow Jake Shields on Twitter @jakeshieldsajj

  1. […] Nevertheless, everyone does it, so I decided to make some picks for the last card. The result was I embarrassed Sherdog’s Jason Probst, who like most of the paid MMA journalists, isn’t any better than a typical blogger like […]

  2. […] Nevertheless, everyone does it, so I decided to make some picks for the last card. The result was I embarrassed Sherdog’s Jason Probst, who like most of the paid MMA journalists, isn’t any better than a typical blogger like […]

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